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A young boy and a talented stray dog with an amazing basketball playing ability become instant friends. Rebounding from his father's accidental death, 12-year-old Josh Framm moves with his family to the small town of Fernfield, Washington. The new kid in town, Josh has no friends and is too shy to try out for the school basketball team. Instead he prefers to practice alone on an abandoned court, he befriends a runaway golden retriever named Buddy. Josh is amazed when he realizes that Buddy loves basketball...that is playing basketball...and he is GOOD! Josh eventually makes the school team and Buddy is named the Team Mascot. Josh and Buddy become the stars of halftime. Buddy's half-time talent draws media attention. Unfortunately, when Buddy's mean former owner, Norm Snively, comes along with a scheme to cash in on the pup's celebrity, it looks like they are going to be separated.Written by
The first of the 'Air Bud' series is as much wonderful as it is horribly underrated, truly a 90's classic. It has a dignified place in the list of the greatest animal movies as well. In many ways it is a depressing movie but it's also heart-warming, touching, feel-good and tons of fun. There's more to it to like, though. Cinematography is really beautiful and pure. The soundtrack is just perfect for this film. The boy and his devoted four-legged friend make a marvelous team and have a perfect chemistry.
Even though the film's title obviously refers to the dog, his name is actually Buddy - that is, once he ends up in the hands of Josh Framm. Even as the movie starts, the little we see is enough to realize how horribly the clown treats his dog (constantly yelling at him, threatening him and hitting him hard with the newspaper). It is heartbreaking to see that. Fortunately, this horrible man accidentally loses him and he finds Josh Framm (a, I assume, 12-year-old who is loving and caring but very shy and silent and currently under depressive mood). They quickly become best friends, as Josh gives him the treatment he deserves. Buddy is a very special dog alone, but he has a special secret that makes him even more special: he can play basketball (even more amazing, better than humans can!).
Even though the clown is a horrible person, he doesn't have that much of a role. He is not someone I sympathize with and he certainly isn't funny, although it is hilarious when his truck falls apart and he can't stop it and accidentally drives it into a river.
Larry Willingham's father is a jerk. Even though Larry unfairly picks on Josh, at least he isn't too bratty and is funny at times. But Larry's father, that guy is such a jerk, although not overly annoying. Coach Joe isn't especially sympathetic because he is very impatient and temperamental, but he goes too far when he throws basketballs at Josh's peculiar friend Tom with aggressiveness.
The movie is focused more on Josh and Buddy, who are the most likable characters of the movie. Kevin Zegers is flawless as Josh Framm. Buddy the Dog is amazing as Buddy (may this wonderful dog rest in peace, wherever he is now). Brendan Fletcher does a good job as Larry. So does Shayn Solberg as Josh's good friend Tom. The late Eric Christmas is hilarious as Judge Cranfield.
Title in Portugal: 'Air Bud'.
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